Milkweed Seed Needed

12 08 2013

If you are based in North America, you might be interested in the following campaign. Monarch Watch, a non-profit organization based at the University of Kansas, is looking for milkweed seed donations to further their goals to preserve local monarch butterfly populations. They encourage the start-up and maintenance of monarch waystations and provide kits to interested parties. Remember that milkweed is also a plant loved by bees :)

Click the following poster to find out how to collect and donate. (Of course, you can always plant your own milkweed on your own!)

milkweed for monarchs needed




Iceland’s White-Tailed Bumblebee

3 08 2013

Move over gift-store tchotchkes, there’s a better travel souvenir in town. Well, at least when it comes to me.

Photos of bees from places I’ve never visited nor will visit in the near future.

And that’s just what friend and fellow blogger from Uncategorized Days did. Just back from an adventure-filled hiking excursion in Iceland, she sent me a batch of gorgeous bumble photos :)

Taken in two different locations, photos showcase Bombus lucorum – the white-tailed bumblebee. The photos taken of bees in the moss campion (Silene acaulis) were shot at the Krýsuvík geothermal area in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The photos including bees in the dandelions were taken at the Þórsmörk Nature Reserve in the Central Highlands.

Iceland is home to three different species of bumblebee, including B. lucorum.

Many thanks!





Summertime Bombus hortorum in the UK

15 07 2013

Thank you to a regular contributor for the following lovely photos of an industrious Bombus hortorum.

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013

Bombus hortorum - UK July 3rd 2013





Pittosporum and Honeybee in Nanjing, China

29 04 2013

Let’s celebrate. Bee season is off to a running start in central China, and I caught a few photos today. I’ve identified one of the flowering bushes so far (this is a Pittosporum), so I’ll start by posting two photos of the plant, one with a honeybee deeply engrossed.

Pittosporum and Honeybee - Nanjing China - April 28 2013

Pittosporum - Nanjing China - April 28 2013





Carpenter Bees in Alabama

1 04 2013

Tcarpenter bee drawinghanks to a fellow blogger, I have some beautiful, new photos of carpenter bees from Montgomery, Alabama. Carpenter bees and bumbles are often mistaken for one another. The major difference between the two is that the former have a relatively hairless abdomen, while the latter is fuzzy all over.





Chinese Magnolias

18 03 2013

[Also posted on The Good Villager.]

It’s spring. Flowers are popping up everywhere. I just posted on the all-important Chinese plum blossom season with some lovely shots provided by one of my students. Now, the magnolia trees outside my housing complex have blossomed, and I was able to get out there myself today and photograph.

After doing a little research, there are what I believe to be two different species of native magnolia trees here. One (see the white blooms) is the Magnolia denudata (玉蘭 – yù lán – literally ‘jade orchid’), also called the Yulan magnolia – a symbol of purity. The other (purple blossoms) is the Magnolia liliiflora species (木兰 – mù lán – literally ‘tree orchid’), also called the Mulan magnolia.

Enjoy these beauties below.





Acacia Honey in China

21 01 2013

Chinese Acacia Honey - yang huai feng miFrom time to time, I buy a jar of Chinese honey. It makes sense. After all, I live in China. Why not buy local? Of course, Chinese products are often suspect in some way – many Chinese folks I’ve spoken to are suspicious of honey coming from their own country, and as I’ve written about before, they have a reason to be. But I’ve also written that it’s impossible for us to avoid toxins completely given what we, as humans, have done to our world. So Chinese honey and whatever chemicals it contains makes their way into my kitchen.

Robinia pseudoacacia 004This time round, I secured a jar of acacia honey.  One of the more common monofloral honeys, this honey comes from the false acacia tree  (洋槐 yáng​ huái – black locust tree or Robinia pseudoacacia). The tree grows in warmer climates in Europe and North America, but it also grows in China. The honey is usually rather light in colour, but can have an amber hue (particularly if it has been pasteurized) like in the jar you see here.

Acacia honey has a higher fructose content than most honeys. As a result, it tastes sweeter – you will likely need less to sweeten your tea – and it probably won’t crystallize like most honeys will over time.

See other posts on my Chinese honey adventures:








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